Glenn Montigny has $100 worth of gift cards to Carrabba’s Italian Grill, but the only one near him has closed. Can he transfer the balance to a gift card for another restaurant chain?
Question: Last Christmas Eve, I purchased two $50 gift cards for Carrabba’s Italian Grill which were supposed to be usable once each month through May 2017 for $10 each at Carrabba’s restaurants. I used the cards in January, but all the Carrabba’s restaurants near me have since closed.
Bloomin’ Brands, the parent company of Carrabba’s, has stated that it will replace the cards with cards that I can use at another of its other restaurants, like Outback Steakhouse. But it will only do so if there is no other Carrabba’s in the state.
There is one, but going there and returning home is a 140-mile round trip. The closest Carrabba’s restaurant to my home now is in Massachusetts, which is an 80-mile round trip for me. Going to either of these restaurants just to use the gift cards would cost more for gasoline than I think the trip would be worth.
I would like to exchange the cards for one that I can use at Outback Steakhouse, which is ten minutes away. I tried calling Bloomin’ Brands’ toll-free number to ask its representatives for help, but a recorded message tells you to leave a message because “all of our support representatives are busy.” Can you help me get new, usable cards? – Glenn Montigny, Vernon, Conn.
Answer: Looks like Scrooge, in the form of corporate policy, came along to ruin your Christmas present. I agree with you that you should not have to drive 140 miles to use a gift card.
Neither Bloomin’ Brands’ nor Carrabba’s terms and conditions contain any language indicating that your gift cards can be replaced with cards for other Bloomin’ Brands restaurants if there is no other Carrabba’s in Connecticut. And it isn’t clear from your paper trail where you might have gotten this information.
In fact, Bloomin’ Brands’ site indicates that
Gift cards purchased on our sites are:
- Redeemable at any Bloomin’ Brands location
- Accepted in all U.S. locations
- No expiration date
You should have been able to reach someone at Bloomin’ Brands’ toll-free number when you called it. But when you couldn’t speak to anyone at that number, you contacted our advocates, who reached out to Bloomin’ Brands on your behalf. (Executive contact information for Bloomin’ Brands is not available on our site as of this writing.)
Fortunately, Bloomin’ Brands confirmed to our advocates that it is not the case that it will only replace your Carrabba’s cards with cards for its other restaurants if there are no other Carrabba’s within the boundaries of your state. It has transferred the balances on your cards to gift cards for Outback Steakhouse. But you need to use your cards quickly, because Bloomin’ Brands is also closing a number of Outback Steakhouses. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a similar situation with Outback.